How to Help Young Athletes Deal with Grief Associated with Losing Dream of Championship due to Covid-19.

by May 5, 2020Mindset0 comments

John Maxwell is known to say “people living without goals or a purpose are already dead, they just haven’t made it official yet.”

As we watch news circulate regarding the official pandemic of Covid-I 9, we hear of the disaster that could loom if it is not slowed down and contained. The potential of an overtaxed medical system without the proper resources to care for the infected creates a frightening picture none of us really desire to think about. Imagine the difficultly of doctors being forced to prioritize care and make the difficult decision of who lives and who dies. This idea sends shivers up my spine.  The reality however, is that in the process of ensuring we do what’s best for human life, which should be the highest priority, some organizational lenders are having to offer a form of death to others currently.

Proverbs 29:18 says, “Where there is no vision, the people perish.”
I will save you the full theological context and just highlight the fact that we humans need a vision, goal, or purpose to keep us going with passion. People who are thriving, fulfilled, and full of life are on mission and know exactly where they are going. In fact, a Stanford longevity study conducted by Lewis Terman conducted over 95 years found that those who tended to live the longest, most fulfilling lives were the people who actively pursued, and were highly engaged, in pursuing their goals

What does this have to do with Covid-19?
Well to do what’s best for saving physical life, we have in some ways stripped life away from thousands of young athletes around the world. Most of these young men and women spent the majority of their life dedicated to the goal of becoming one of the best in their sport and to play for a championship. And out of nowhere, their dream is cut short.  Their goal is removed.  They find that everything they have lived for up to this point, their identity, will have no conclusion. Life as they know it was taken from them. Someone made a choice, that difficult choice, on life and these young athletes came out the losers as most state high school and collegiate championship tournaments have been cancelled.

Before I go on, I want it to be clear that I do not disagree with any decision being made. In fact, I have renewed faith in organizations as they are forgoing huge economic opportunity to do what we believe is right to protect human life.
I do think we need to recognize and sympathize with these young athletes who are grieving the loss of their life. Yes, they are still breathing, but their heart has been ripped from them. Their dreams are smashed. This leaves many asking what now?

My hope is to give some hope and direction for some young athletes reeling from this loss.  Here are three (3) important keys to help these grieving young athletes maneuver through this tough time.

  • First, it is okay to grieve. Some, with good intentions, will tell you that its selfish to be sad about your championship being cancelled. They may tell you that protecting everyone else is more important.  Although down deep, you know they are right, you still hurt. That’s acceptable and for what it’s worth I give you permission to be sad, cry, and go through the entire grief process. The best way to get through grief is to talk about it with someone that cares, understands your loss, and does not judge you. Quite frankly, your coach is a great place to start as he or she is upset also.
  • Go ahead and find your next goal and purpose. Although the pain will be there a while, it will pass. You will move on. You should close your eyes and remember the life you felt while on the court or field. You probably never felt more alive. That feeling was based on the passion you had for the game, feeling like you were fulfilling your calling, and the pursuit of the prize. It’s true, even though you may not be playing at the next level, you can still live with purpose, passion and life. The hard part is finding who you are off the court.  What’s my new identity?  If that’s a problem, reach out to me at www.stopclowningaround.com, I specialize in helping people find their calling. I can assure you that you can find this feeling and renewed life outside the game.
  • Finally, Keep playing the game! At this point, the game is probably therapy for you. Find any opportunity to keep playing and never use the excuse I’m too old. See, although it feels like someone took the game from you, the truth in life is that we usually hand the game over when we quit. The only way you let Covid-19 win is if you quit playing and hand over your game.
    Keep Playing. Keep Pursuing. Keep winning.

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